Last season I quietly questioned playing Steele when everyone knew he was no better than 60%. Steele wanted to play because that's the type of player he is... giving it his all, but looking back did it really help the team? Many can point to the GW shot he made against UGA as helping the team (and no doubt it did), but did his being in and out of the lineup suppress the development of other players? I think so.
Did being an Ironman during the 05-06 season do a number on his knees? I have to believe it played a part. Yes, we sorely needed him as the bench was amazingly thin thanks to Jonus quitting and Chuck going down for the year against Ole Miss, but who's fault was that for not having bodies to eat 5 MPG? That still irks me.
This year we know going into it that Steele is not an option. I do not want to hear the "if Steele was healthy we'd be ____," if things don't go well. Even with Steele gone for the year I maintain that we're the 2nd most talented team in the SEC West. Unless Pelphrey is an even worse coach than Heath, Arkansas should win the West running away with Mississippi State and Alabama playing for 2nd. I still expect a return to the big dance and not another trip to the Not Invited Tournament.